It’s hard to believe that we have had our daughter Roxy since January 13 and been home since January 24. A few months ago, all we had of our daughter was pictures, a few updates, and 1 video. We loved her but we didn’t really know what she was like. We were expecting her to have adjustment issues, and perhaps to go through a grieving phase. I can tell you, we haven’t seen anything like that. In fact, if anything, the hard part was our time in China with all the traveling. I remember the look of confusion and uncertainly in her eyes on gotcha day and today she is a secure little girl happily running around with our cats and giving us hugs and kisses daily. Roxy has gone through so much and yet she is incredibly resilient. She’s been adopted, gotten new parents, moved from China to the United States, became an American citizen, gotten a new home, met many new people, and tried many new foods. She has come so far and is learning English quickly. She says hello, bye bye, 123, and will sometimes imitate what we say. For example, I gave her a banana to eat and she heard what I said and said “banana.” She calls us Baba and Mama and will say in advance, “Baba, Mama, Xie xie” in advance if she knows she’s about to get something she likes like banana or a jellybean.
Kenny and I have noticed that Roxy is very musically inclined. By that I mean she seems to really be drawn to music or musical toys and even dances to music whenever she hears it, even if it’s a commercial. See the multiple videos we have posted of Roxy dancing. We already know we’ll have her try out some music and dance later. I’m thinking of taking her to a musical thing for toddlers. I can’t wait to see see what she turns into in the future and the woman she becomes. I know Kenny and I will help her fulfill her potential, so she can be whatever she wants to be.
We went up on Valentine’s Day to Kirkwood with our friends and to celebrate a few birthdays, including mine. Before I talk about our weekend I have to explain why this weekend was so special to us. We went up to the snow with some really good friends with me and Kenny. We’ve been through so much together the past few years. Kenny and I know we can rely on these guys for anything. We all live in Sacramento/Elk Grove and go to the River Ridge Neighborhood Church. We already know our kids will grow up with each other. Since they mean so much to us, we were so excited to go to Kirkwood to spend a 3 day weekend (Valentine’s Day and my birthday) up in the snow with our close friends and their kids. Roxy had never seen snow before and we were so excited to take her up with everyone. We basically spent the weekend just hanging out with everyone and enjoying our time with our friends and all the kids. It was fun to rotate who was cooking and to be able to talk and laugh and make memories with our friends. (I’m holding to the code that what happens in Kirkwood stays in Kirkwood). But I will stay late night events combined with iPhone cameras are awesome. The guys did “guy stuff,” and watched the NBA All Star Game and some of the the other sports stuff going on that weekend, like the 3 Point Contest. I usually go skiing with Kenny (we are skiers, not snowboarders) but this weekend Kenny just went skiing once while I watched Roxy. It was such a luxury for me to be able to hang out away from Sacramento and unplug. Roxy hung out with her new friends (the children of our good friends) and had a blast. I think she’s going to learn a lot just by hearing other children say things because she she said new words this weekend. If I remember correctly they were: gentle, basketball (she really said it, I have witnesses!), mommy, and ok.
Roxy LOVED the snow! She had this look of wonder when first she peered out the window. She said “Woah!” a few times. It was a little tricky bundling Roxy up and getting her out into the snow because the snow was pretty deep and we had to carry her into it. Kenny took her on the sled twice. I would say she enjoyed it but she seemed to enjoy just sitting in the snow and playing with it more. I got a pretty good video of it.
After we got back from Kirkwood we had a very busy week. Thank goodness we had some friends and people from church stopping by with dinner deliveries. Thanks Sheryl, Christine, and Debbie! I still haven’t figured out how to get all the things done that I used to with Roxy around. She basically comes with me everywhere (yes, everywhere even the bathroom). I took Roxy to try out My Gym Elk Grove for the Gymsters class. It’s a program to get toddlers exercising and moving. Roxy liked playing with the equipment and going on the swing and the slide. But they had this time called Circle time where everyone gets in a circle and does physical activity and she never wanted to go back to Circle time because she only wanted to play.
We had a 1 month visit from our social worker. I think it went pretty well. She came over for dinner and got to meet Roxy. We let her know the truth, that Roxy is very happy and friend but she is definitely prone to testing boundaries with us. She definitely really hates to go to bed and she really doesn’t react well if she’s told by Mama and Baba that she can’t do something or have something. This is something that we’re working on but actually, I think its a good thing, because she’s acting like a secure little girl, and she’s not afraid to make her opinions known. We also submitted this Post Adoption Questionnaire from Holt and 12 pictures from Gotcha Day until now.
Roxy also had an MRI Mercy San Juan Medical Center. While I’m not going to discuss Roxy’s medical issue online (I figure it’s her private business and when she gets older she can share it with whoever she wants to tell), I will say that I wasn’t prepared for what we had to go through to get it. To start off, Kenny couldn’t go with me so I drove Roxy myself. I figured since it was at 8:30am in the morning that we’d be home in time for lunch. Boy was I wrong! We didn’t wind up getting home until like 4 something in the afternoon! Roxy and I waiting just a long time in a room with me trying to distract her with cartoons and my iPhone. I think they actually got started on her MRI close to 11 am and it took forever. Poor Roxy HATED it. They actually had to put her under general anesthesia. She cried and fought when they put the gas mask over her face. I waited for HOURS in the wait area and then when she came out of it, she was crying and screaming (not that I blame her). She seemed really disoriented. I also hit traffic driving both to and from Mercy San Juan. So both Roxy and I were feeling pretty crappy by the time we got home. The good thing is that my friend Nuny was nice enough to do a drive by donut delivery since her family’s bakery Sweet Dozen is near Mercy San Juan. Also, a family from our church dropped by with a homemade meal, which we really appreciated. The results of the MRI were exactly as we expected. So that’s good. And the important thing is that what Roxy has is fixable, Kenny and I have access to the best medical resources out there, and that our little girl will be able to live a fully normal life. I’m very grateful for that.
We had a number of visitors the weekend that was the 1 month anniversary of our arrival home. Our family friends arrived for a visit and to meet Roxy, along with our friend Brian who is making her adoption video. We took Roxy to the park twice during the weekend and discovered she loves going down the slide and on the swings. We also had our 1st family photoshoot with Junshien Photography. Junshien and I have been friends for years. We had a lot of fun changing outfits and doing funky things to try to get Roxy to smile (think jellybeans, playing gangnam style, and using this weird cat toy that is a pig that squeaks). I totally trust Junshien and I think he got a lot of awesome shots.
In our 1 month home we’ve been through so many things. Overall, Roxy has adjusted incredibly well and tried many new things and met many new people and Kenny and I are really proud of her. We’re enjoying just being a family and some of the simple pleasures that come with it, such as feeding Roxy at dinner. We love getting hugs and kisses from Roxy, who gives them pretty freely. Our little girl is actually really funny. She has this obsession with jelly beans and I always keep some around, just in case I need to get her to do something. But you wouldn’t believe the antics she tries to pull to get them. I’ve caught her digging through my purse red-handed and then watched her try to say “Mama ni kan!” so I would look the other way. Roxy is very entertaining to be around. I was telling some friends that had come over for dinner that she loves music. Kenny put a music video on and we all laughed hysterically when she started dancing to gangnam style. (Enjoy the video.) We like listening to Roxy say words in English and babble to us in Mandarin/Wuhan dialect. I’ve been Roxy’s Mama slightly over 5 weeks and had her home for 1 month and I really couldn’t imagine life without her. Imagine life without Roxy’s hugs and kisses and trying to ride our cat Mochi like a pony and dancing like a maniac to any song that happens to come on tv. So many people say that she’s so lucky to get parents like me and Kenny. But Kenny and I feel like we’re the lucky ones, or really, just blessed by God.
Dr. Jacqueline "Jax" Cheung grew up in Sacramento, California. She is a Christian Wife, Proud Mom, Major Foodie, Sacramento Native, Elk Grove Resident, Feminist, Adoption Advocate, Blogger, Freelance Writer, and Cat Lover. Jax is the owner of the award winning Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption Ministry. She is also the Editor-In-Chief of the Elk Grove Tribune, and freelances for Sacramento4Kids, and many other publications. Jax is married to Dr. Kenneth Cheung (Kenny). Jax and Kenny live in Elk Grove, California and have 2 daughters named Roxy and Carissa, and 3 cats named Mochi, Miso, and Mango. To follow her journey please like her Jax Chronicles Facebook page, follow her Instagram @jaxchronicles, follow her Twitter @jaxchronicles, or check out Jax Chronicles Blog & Adoption ministry.